December 3, 2010

Something Wonderful: CHRIS BURDEN: Metropolis II

As a boy I would have strangled a thousand kittens to have something like this. As a man, I feel the same way.

It includes 1,200 custom-designed cars and 18 lanes; 13 toy trains and tracks; and, dotting the landscape, buildings made of wood block, tiles, Legos and Lincoln Logs. The crew is still at work on the installation. In "Metropolis II," by his calculation, "every hour 100,000 cars circulate through the city," Mr. Burden said. "It has an audio quality to it. When you have 1,200 cars circulating it mimics a real freeway. It's quite intense."

Posted by Vanderleun at December 3, 2010 2:52 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I miss my boyhood. Matchbox, Hotwheels and Tonka...the holey trinity of my toy gods.

Posted by: Jewel at December 3, 2010 5:27 PM

Did I upset the censors, Gerard?

Posted by: Jewel at December 3, 2010 5:27 PM

I had an Erector Set as a boy, plus the then-obligatory Lionel train and slot cars somewhat later. I would have traded my bike, baseball mitt, and complete collection of cap guns for something even 1/10 the scale of this set up, though.

Posted by: waltj at December 3, 2010 6:33 PM

Chris Burden born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1946 is an American Performance artist.

Burden began to work in performance art in the early 1970s, he made a series of controversial performances in which the idea of personal danger as artistic expression was central. His most well-known act from that time is perhaps the 1971 performance piece Shoot, in which he was shot in his left arm by an assistant from a distance of about five meters.

One of Burden’s most reproduced and cited pieces, Trans-Fixed took place in 1974 at Speedway Avenue in Venice, California. For this performance, Burden lay face up on a Volkswagen Beetle and had nails hammered into both of his hands, as if he were being crucified on the car. The car was pushed out of the garage and the engine revved for two minutes before being pushed back into the garage.

Later that year, Burden performed his piece White Light/White Heat at the Ronald Feldman gallery in New York. For this work of experiment performance and self-inflicting danger, Burden spent twenty-two days lying on a triangular platform in the corner of the gallery. He was out of sight from all viewers and he could not see them either. According to Burden, he did not eat, talk, or come down the entire time.

In 1978 he became a professor at University of California, Los Angeles, a position from which he resigned in 2005 due to a controversy over the university's alleged mishandling of a student's classroom performance piece that echoed one of Burden's own performance pieces.

Posted by: Fat Man at December 3, 2010 7:44 PM

Well, he finally got one right.

Posted by: sherlock at December 4, 2010 7:32 AM

Awesomely useless. I want to see it in person.

Posted by: robot at December 5, 2010 10:39 AM

I've got no use for anybody who would strangle a kitten for any reason whatsoever.

Posted by: Larry Sheldon at December 6, 2010 6:55 PM

It was probably a figure of speech. I'm guessing.

Posted by: rickl at December 6, 2010 8:08 PM